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DVD Review

DVD cover

Green Zone (2010)
(2020 Reissue)


Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan, Khalid Abdalla and Jason Isaacs
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 19 October 2020

Chief Warrant Officer Miller is tasked with uncovering weapons of mass destruction following the 2003 Iraq war. Every place they are sent to is empty making Miller question the value and source of the intel. Shut down by his superiors, Miller goes rogue in search for the truth about the WMD’s...

Green Zone (2010. 1 hr, 49 min, 58 sec) is a war thriller, directed by Paul Greengrass, who also directed three of the Jason Bourne films.

The movie stars Matt Damon as Miller, a man committed to the truth. As the war against Saddam Hussain was based on the premise that he had weapons of mass destruction, to find none would invalidate the moral behind the decision to go to war.

Miller gets increasingly frustrated that every site he is sent to is not only empty but also looks like it never stored anything more important than toilet supplies. He tries to question the validity of the intel in an open meeting but is told by his general to get on with his job. Also at the meeting is Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson), a CIA operative who has his own reasons to uncover what is happening.

U.S. Department of Defence official, Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), is keen to install a puppet head of government, under the guise of bringing democracy to Iraq. Miller quickly discovers that there is an undisclosed war between the DOD and the CIA and his search for the truth falls in the middle of the two agendas.

Although it has the political thriller aspect to it, the film it most resembles is Black Hawk Down (2001), both deals with the armed conflict in an urban and unfriendly environment, both starts with a strong pace which rarely lets up through the films run time and both have Jason Issacs leading a special forces team.

The street fighting and the firefights are thrilling to watch. At this point, I would normally say how well the actors did portraying an army unit. They move as one and their demeanour convince you that these are seasoned soldiers.  Well, that is until you watch the extras, only to discover that it is quite the reverse. Only Damon is not a real soldier, as all the other members of his squad are either serving soldiers or veterans. So, I am equally impressed that the soldiers were able to act so well, there is not a bad performance from any of them.

Miller's brig break comes when an Iraqi civilian called Freddy (Khalid Abdalla) approached Miller's group while they are uselessly digging holes, looking for weapons. He tells them about a secret meeting of surviving high ranking Iraqi soldiers. Miller saw his chance to get nearer to the truth, or at least someone who knows the truth, raids a house and captures some of the occupants. However, before he can question them properly, they as whisked away by a special forces team.  With nowhere else to turn, he contacts Brown.

We all know that there never were weapons of mass destruction and the reason to go to wars was morally questionable. The film posits that it was the DOD who was feeding false information to a journalist, played by Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan). As the layers of deceit are peeled back, she starts to question her role in the misinformation.

The film does well not to choose a side, although this does not mean it remains uncritical of Poundstone. Even the potential villain of the piece is allowed his justification for his actions.

If the film has a fault, it's that you need to believe that the army would allow Miller and his team to go off on some unsanctioned mission without trying to stop them. Maybe that was the case in Iraq with teams being off-grid for days, but there is always that niggling doubt in the back of your mind.

The disc comes with 5.1 surround sound audio track as well as a descriptive track for the hard of hearing/blind. There is also the option for English subtitles. One of the weird things about the film is that it has no burned in subtitles for the scenes where everyone is speaking Iraqi. This means that unless you turn on the English subs for these sections you will miss what is being said and what the motivations of the Iraqi characters are.

There are some extras. First up is the feature-length commentary with the director and Damon. There are some deleted scenes, also with commentary. Matt Damon: Ready for Action (9 min, 48 sec) introduces us to the veterans who make up his squad. Inside the Green Zone (8 min, 39 sec) is a look behind the scenes.

Overall, if you accept the premise that they can roam around Baghdad unhindered, then the film delivers both as a thriller and as a war film.


Charles Packer

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